Had been there at Athlone for work. Colleagues advised one thing to do here other than visiting Sean's Bar and Karma, is the viking tour... I asked them what's extra other than a normal boat ride? Reply was mixed - hence wanted to give it a try one day
Reached the castle bay at 10.30, saw a locked 'nicely maintained' boat, nut nobody around. 30 minutes too early! In around 7 minutes I met Michael, who later became our Boat operator plus Guide. A good man, greeted me on first meeting and gave a warmth welcome while he was till busy setting up the boat for the day. Within 10-15 minutes a group of people arrived, part of some conducted tour and I saw him greeting them same cordially. I felt a good start.
Once we started from the bay, Michael gave a very good, detailed over view - where we are, where are we going and what will we have there. We passed through lock gate, old harbor and gradually we reached wider Shannon area. All the time Michael was help full in giving us a very good background of the whole area we were passing by. The difference between a boat ride and this Viking tour settled within me!
The boat was covered in the middle, with ample supply of blanket such that elderly people can manage the high river freezing breeze. At the same time, open forward deck provided a great stand for some real good photography. Complimentary tea/coffee was always ready on board. And here I must say about the ever smiling assistant of our guide, who was always ready to prepare the hot drink and carry the same to people who became quite numb in that high cold. I was chatting with him when Michael was concentrating on driving and found him also very much knowledgeable and generous.
We reached Clonmacnoise on time, the moanstic site was good enjoyable place, with the audio visual tour. There were two options at the end, boat was returning immediately, we either could traveled back or stayed back, enjoyed the site and they had plan B of having a bus ride which will take us back to city.
A journey through Shannon, which followed the path of old century Viking and Normandy invasion, and a site of age old Irish monastery - altogether a good fruitful day. I was satisfied that I chose this Viking tour.
Recommended to all who are making a visit to Athlone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.